Sunday, September 10, 2000

Dance notes: Ballet welcomes new members

Diversity growing, notables departing

By Carol Norris
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        New dancers hired by Cincinnati Ballet for this season are giving the company a decidedly international flavor.

        Tong Shusheng, who danced previously with the Guangzhou Ballet in her native China, joins as a soloist.

[photo] Choreographer Alexei Kremnev (center) leads a rehearsal of Next Generation Company's Snow Queen.
(Sandy Underwood photo)
| ZOOM |
        New corps de ballet members include Luciano Lazzarotto of Brazil, Aram Manukyan of Armenia, Erina Noda of Japan and Dimitri Trubchanov of Turkmenistan (formerly part of the USSR).

        New corps dancers from the United States are Marie Mishic Corn (Texas), Valentine Liberatore (Pennsylvania), Stephanie Roig (Connecticut), Tricia Sundbeck (California) and Katherine Thompson (Alabama). Meridith Benson, who left the company in 1993, returns as a principal.

        This year's turnover rate of 28% is slightly less than the 30% average of the last few years. With the familiarity that comes from working intimately 6 to 8 hours a day in a sweaty studio, ballet companies can feel like big, rowdy families. Those who've been around for a while sometimes get the itch to move on. Those who've flown this year include soloists Ellen Kent and Jessica Mylene, both going to Florida.

        A popular Peter Pan in productions past — Michael Wardlaw — is staying in town, but trading ballet shoes for woodworking tools. He'll try to make it as a furniture maker.

        “It's art and it's functional,” he says about his work. “After I was injured last year I made a decision to move on.” (He's opening a gallery. Check out his Web site, He hints he may show up in at least one ballet this season.

        Cincinnati Ballet starts the year Oct. 14 when Home Cities Tour begins at the College of Mount St. Joseph. The first mainstage production at the Aronoff Center is Fall Festival,Nov. 17 and 18 and includes a Stanton Welch premiere, Frederic Franklin's “Swan Lake, Act II,” Daniel Simmons “Un Esprit de Sept” and Val Caniparoli's “Aquilarco.” 621-5282 or 241-7469.

        Off to school: With $20,000 in her pocket, Jennifer Snow is headed for University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a dance degree in her sights. She received the Founders Scholarship from the Cincinnatus Scholarship Foundation for dancing ability, a 4.0 grade-point average, high SAT scores, acing a required essay and showing initiative in a group project with fellow competitors.

        The Oak Hills High School graduate is one of six incoming freshman from across the country to earn a full four-year ride.

        Departing from Dayton: If you've seen Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in the last 11 years, you've witnessed the earthy exuberance of Terence Greene's dancing. He received the Josie Award for best male dancer in Ohio this year, but has decided to leave the stage to concentrate on teaching and choreographing. He's been named director of Horton modern and jazz technique at Ballet Tech Studio in Foster (near Paramount's Kings Island).

        Ballet Tech director Claudia Rudolf says Mr. Greene, who's in his mid-30s, may not be leaving performance for good yet, but is ready to move into teaching.

        “He turned down offers in a lot of places to work with us. He really likes the area (he'll locate in Cincinnati) and likes working with my students,” Ms. Rudolf says.

        The studio opened this week; Mr. Greene begins teaching Oct. 9. 683-6860.

        "Snow Queen' coming: Next Generation Dance Company presents The Snow Queen Sept. 14-17. Cincinnati Ballet principal Alexei Kremnev is choreographing the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale in what's being billed as “bold new ballet-theatre style choreography”.

        When asked what that means, artistic director Tatyana Makarova said, “It's a theatrical production and includes a lot of character dancing. It's very powerful; everything happens very fast.”

        Twenty students from area dance studios were cast at auditions in March. In the leading roles will be Cincinnati Ballet professionals Dawn Kelly, Andrey Kasatsky, Amanda Jarman and Zsuzsanna Bokor.

        Preview ($10) 7:30 p.m. Thursday, performances ($15-$20) 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 621-2787.

        “Mickle a do”: You don't have to be Scot, Irish, Welsh, Breton or Asturian to find “mickle a do” (much to do) at the Cincinnati Celtic Music and Cultural Festival. The annual event (9 years and counting) is at Coney Island again this year and in addition to the Celtic food and music there'll be dancing on two stages.

        Joining the McGing Irish Dancers are the Horne Family, Welsh Country, Royal Scottish Country, Erickson Irish, Cincinnati Highland and Mill Creek Morris dance groups. New this year is a performance of Ballet Tech's “A Stone's Throw,” a ballet by Claudia Rudolf to original music by Ian Barrett at 4 p.m. Sept. 30. Mr. Barrett and the Celtic band Brittany Bay will play.

        Festival is noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 30 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 1; Coney Island; $7 admission, 12 and under free, $3 parking; 533-4822.

        Carol Norris is a free-lance writer who covers dance for The Enquirer. Write her c/o Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati OH 45202; fax, 768-8330.


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